State High Thespians Shine at the Recent Isaac Awards

Brianna Dzyak and Hannah Smith at the Isaac Awards stage.
Brianna Dzyak and Hannah Smith at the Isaac Awards stage.
Brianna Dzyak

The Isaac Awards, a celebration of excellence in high school musical theater in Pennsylvania, once again highlighted student performers’ incredible talent and dedication. Held at the Mishler Theatre in Altoona and organized by the Altoona Community Theater, the event spanned two days between May 25 and 26, giving out two sets of the same award.

Junior Brianna Dzyak described the Isaacs as an event that honors various aspects of high school theater, from acting to student production design. “The awards are held twice in one weekend, giving out two sets of the same awards,” Dzyak said. “They give out many awards and monetary donations throughout each night. Awards ranged from acting to student production design which appreciated many different facets of theater.”

Each participating school performed a scene from their show, with State High choosing the iconic “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General.” Preparing for this performance involved two rehearsals focusing on both music and choreography. On the day of the awards, the schools traveled to Altoona for a dress rehearsal to fine-tune microphone settings and stage spacing.

Reflecting on the significance of the awards, Dzyak said, “The awards definitely have an effect on our theater community. During show week, it pushes us to do our best for the chance that judges for the awards are in attendance that night.” Although the Isaac Awards can be stressful at moments, it is ultimately an opportunity for the cast to reunite after the show and do one last event together before the end of the year.

The event itself was a seamless affair, thanks to the efficient and welcoming staff. “The rehearsals for performances earlier in the day always run very smoothly and are well on time, and that is all thanks to the staff that are so welcoming and coordinated,” Dzyak noted. “The actual award ceremony also runs very smoothly. The staff always ensures everyone is where they need to be to do their best.”

For both students, the Isaac Awards provided unforgettable moments. Dzyak, who was a runner-up for choreography with her friend, Audrey Shaner, recounted the thrill of hearing their names called. “Hearing our names called for the award was indescribable. I was shaking for 20 minutes out of shock and joy that our hard work was awarded.”

As the curtain falls on another successful Isaac Awards, the impact on the participating students and their schools is clear. These awards not only celebrate the accomplishments of young performers but also strengthen the bonds within the theater community.

 

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